In 1983, 1987 and 2000, Maryland Governors and their counterparts in Virginia, the District of Columbia and other jurisdictions in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed signed formal agreements that set timelines for cleaning up the Bay. The most recent agreement called for deadlines that were to be met by 2010. That deadline will not be met.
The Agreements had some merit in identifying various areas in which states needed to act. At best it served as a complementary effort to the Clean Water Act, enacted in 1972, which lays out a process for identifying pollutants that have caused the Bay to decline, set caps on those contaminants and by enforcing the caps restore the Bay to health. Clean Water Action supported the strongest possible version of this latest agreement, understanding that we would continue fighting for the enforcement of the Clean Water Act as the likeliest means restoring the Bay.
Over the years, Clean Water Action members, volunteers and staff have made a major contribution to the Bay's restoration by weighing in with hundreds of thousands of letters, phone calls, and emails to lawmakers, and by holding meetings in targeted communities, lobbying in Annapolis and pressuring federal representatives. In addition, we also played a key role in building the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, which is made up by the key organizations focused on natural resources.
In 2010, when the region fails to meet its own deadline on cleaning up the Bay, we should at least be able to look back at 2009 and say that the State of Maryland took these actions: